We caught up with Lee Stuart who is currently the brand director for the highly respected Amsterdam streetwear brand, Patta.
Founded back in 2004 by Edson Sabajo and Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt, Patta have been given us a taste of their Amsterdam streetwear vibes for the last 15 years. A strong contender for one of the top 5 streetwear brands on the planet it’s fair to say we just can’t get enough of it. Pioneers of the whole Amsterdam streetwear aesthetic, a look which has been championed all over the world from full tracksuits to sought after Air Max collabs to reconstructed vests. Move forward to 2019 and Patta now boast 3 flagship stores with Amsterdam, London and more recently the opening of the Patta Milan store in June 2019. We caught up with their current brand director, Lee Stuart, for our latest ‘How I Got Here’ feature and an exclusive insight into the Patta family.
Give us more info about your current role at Patta, and how you became involved with the original Amsterdam streetwear pioneers?
I’ve known the founders of Patta for over 20 years, from when the Hip Hop scene was still tiny and Guillaume and Edson worked at Fat Beats. I was there like every other week, spending my hard earned money on 12” and Tim still was rapping with his long ass locs (we have photo proof). We’ve always been involved in some capacity, whether it was me styling shoots using their stuff or selling t-shirts that I produced. I joined the team officially in 2018 as Brand Director. It’s really about the team at Patta though, roles are pretty fluid.
You guys have recently opened up in Milan, what was the driving force into opening a Patta flagship store in Italy as oppose to other countries in Europe such as Germany or France?
We’ve had a great relationship with Milan for a while, we love the food, and there was a great opportunity there. We are excited to bring our bit of culture there and also benefit from the Milanese gusto.
Patta have released some amazing collaborations over the last 10 years from Air Max trainers to the more recent C.P. Company collaboration, which ones have you particularly enjoyed working on and why?
Obviously being able to jump into the Lorenzo Osti / C.P Company archive is a major major thing and working with the small team there that accomplishes such amazing product was an enormous pleasure. However people tend to overlook the smaller things we do. Like a Mephisto collaboration or the shoots we do with Stephen Tayo, or how we bring our extended family to everything we do. That is the real enjoyment: us doing a longsleeve with Ray Fuego, or a capsule collection with Dekmantel, Oko Ebombo producing a video for Nike, or KC, Tirino, Cosima, Rogiertje, Irene Agbontaen in our Jordan campaign next to Neymar. Giving an artist we go way back with, like Farida Sedoc, a platform. These things make it special for us.
What can we expect from Patta over the next 12 months in terms of growth and new collabs?
It wouldn’t be special if I spilled the beans already so just stay tuned, we’re working hard. What you can expect is more of our culture and more of our taste.
“Stay true to what you do, don’t try to mimic what others do too much, that makes it a bit boring.”
Lee Stuart, Patta
How do you think the global streetwear scene has changed over the last few years and how has Patta adapted/evolved?
It grew from a scene to an industry now, we have everyone and their mama influenced by this scene. Patta has never changed tbh, we just do what we do.
How do you think Amsterdam in particular has changed over the last 10 years?
I lived abroad from 2012-2018 so for me the change was very apparent: it’s way more people from outside in the city now. Gentrification is a real threat to the character of this city. The inner city is already the superrich’ playground and slowly but surely the lower incomes are being pushed out. This is a very sad thing. Somehow the city is still very playful, pretty grounded with enough exciting scenes here and there. The DIY mentality is still prevalent, we have collectives like TNO and Smib and brands like Bonne suits, byBorre, Daily Paper, Filling Pieces with festivals like Dekmantel all massively popular and creating their own worlds.
What are your top 5 sneaker or streetwear drop from 2019?
1. Patta x Mephisto Match
2. adidas Wardour Military Jacket
3. I really like the inline Nike Daybreaks, those Navy ones
4. That second Patta Jordan CW oohwee
5. Reebok JJJJound Club Lowkey amazingly executed
What advice would you give, from a careers perspective, to the next generation looking to break into the streetwear industry?
Observe and learn from the people that came before you. Know the rules, learn that industry knowledge by interning, then say fuck the rules and create your own lane. Stay true to what you do, don’t try to mimic what others do too much, that makes it a bit boring.
What do you do when you are not working with Patta?
Patta is around the clock, it never really stops. But I just curated a exhibition at Kunsthal, visit galleries and I spend a lot of time with my baby girl of 15 months.
Image Credits: Roberto Brundo